Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Is Time the Healer of Grief?
They say time is a great healer.
When I was in the throws of my greatest grief I was told this by so many people.
I hated it.
I didn't want to heal, I didn't want time, or anything else to take away my grief, pain and sorrow were the only things I felt I had left. I needed to hurt, it felt right to hurt, it hurt to hurt too.
Grief is a pain like no other, it's hard to explain until you feel it yourself.
I had felt grief before. My Daddy died when I was young, it was so hard, I missed him so much, I always expected him to come home again and couldn't accept that he was gone. But I was too young to feel the pain.
I lost a really good friend when I was a teenager. I couldn't believe that life could be so cruel, it was hard thinking that life could be over so quickly. I was sad, I was angry, but I wasn't close enough to them to feel the pain.
I lost my Nan in the 90s. I was older with a family of my own. My Nan had meant everything to me, she was who I looked up to. I could always go and talk to her and tell her all my problems. My Nan knew everything, she was wise and kind. She was a lot less criticising than my mum and I always turned to her. Losing her was hard, a whole chunk of my life disappeared overnight. But my Nan lived to a good age and she was so frail and old and ready to leave this life behind. It felt like it was time and although I didn't want to let her go, the pain I felt was selfish.
Then I lost my mum.
This is when I felt the pain.
My mum was everything to me, I'd already lost her once and wasn't ready for her to go for good. We had a really serious falling out in 2000. On New Years Day of the new millennium. I hadn't done anything wrong, she hadn't done anything wrong, but our support lay in opposing ways and we had no choice but to part company. And not speak to each other. And not see each other. It was awful, life was awful, everything around me was collapsing and I no longer had my mum for support. We didn't speak for five years.
Then, I was expecting my third child and I couldn't bear the thought of her not knowing that she was going to be a grandma again. I had to contact her. It took nearly two years for us to rebuild our relationship. It was incredibly difficult. At first we had to meet in secret. Then we met at times we knew that other's wouldn't be around even though they now knew we were meeting. Then we started to get close again and she was falling in love with my little girl and her baby sister. It was so, so good having my mum back in my life.
Then she got sick and had to go to the hospital. Then they said it was Cancer and there was nothing they could do, it was already too late.
Two weeks was all we had to say our goodbyes. It was so quick, so awful, so tragic, so heartbreaking.
My mum passed away on Christmas Day 2008, just two weeks after her diagnosis.
My world fell apart, I was just getting used to having her back in my life and she was cruelly taken from me again. I didn't want to let her go, it hurt, it hurts so bad. Yes, I felt the pain of grief.
For so long that pain was what I grabbed. I had to feel it, pain was all that I had left. I couldn't function, my family neglected, while I wallowed in my pain.
Then slowly, slowly, things started getting back to normal. Time was doing it's thing and making life a little easier. Functioning became easier. I carried on without her.
Time was healing me.
Or was it? Even now, eight years later I can summon that exact same pain in an instant just thinking about my mum. I can cry when I remember her. The pain is there still like an arrow firmly embedded in my heart. This is grief, this is how the pain gets you. But, I can't deny, it is easier to deal with now. I don't let it consume me, I let it wash over me, I remember it like an old friend come to give me a suffocating, strangling hug, taking my breath away and trying to take me under. But it doesn't because grief may always be there but time continues. And with time you learn how to deal with it all better and not consume you.
So time is not a great healer, it just gives you the perspective to deal with your pain better. Do you agree? Have you felt the pain? Does Time heal?
Is Time the Healer of Grief?
Anne Stone Sweet
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